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Is resource dependence an appropriate framework to describe the influence of pro-migrant groups on EU policy-makers?

Ulrike Hoffmann

In the 1970s, US economists assumed that organisations, rather than being self-sufficient, rely on their environment. They diagnosed an interdependence betweenorganisations that occurs whenever one actor does not entirely control all of the conditions necessary for the achievement of its intention. Furthermore, they argue thatinterdependence also affects the influence of one organisation over another – especially when the required resource is critical to the organisation's existence and whenone organisation controls the required resource. This resource dependence theory has been tested empirically in large-n studies to analyse the relations betweencompanies and the government.In this conference paper, resource dependence theory is adapted to the relation between EU policy-makers and interest groups. More precisely, it is tested whether theinfluence of pro-migrant groups on the EU institutions can be ascribed to the interdependence between these actors. Thus, firstly, the resource interdependencebetween policy-makers and pro-migrant groups is described theoretically. Secondly, three methods of influence measurement are applied: process tracing, assessmentof the degree of preference attainment, and assessment of the attributed influence. Finally, it is tested whether the variables derived from the resource dependencetheory actually affect the influence of pro-migrant groups on the EU policy-makers. In so doing, the theory's applicability to the relation of EU institutions and pro-migrantgroups is validated.

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